For the technical realisation of my project we will set up a three way communication between me, my friend and the broadcast using wirecast, skype, local desktop presenter, a phone, a webcam, the main computer, a pen and large piece of paper.
I would be set up in the classroom with a large piece of paper on the wall and a webcam on a tripod behind me. the webcan would be connected to the main computer and the main computer has to be close enough that i can hear it clearly. In another room in ADM my friend would be set up with skype on a phone.
The webcam which views my drawing connects the image directly to wirecast and to skype. My friend views this visually through skype (on a phone) and responds orally through skype. There is only a speaker and no microphone in my room so that i can still hear her responses but there is no extra noise when it is broadcast. On the main computer the local desktop presenter sends the skype call to wirecast and in wirecast we join both the her skype call and my webcam for broadcasting.
As Grace (my friend who will be on skype) is also from New Zealand and studying in Singapore I would start off the conversation by talking about the idea of displacement. This is relevant because we are physically away from out home and also the 3rd space deals a lot with the idea of displacement in space and time. However I would still allows the conversation to flow like a normal one and change direction and topics just seeing where it ends up.
In this way I would end up with both a recording of the conversation as it happens and also a drawing which documents the whole conversation at once as well.
I tested my idea again using a similar set up to last time however this time I tested it with only one person. I sat on the floor with a pile of paper ready to hang up on the wall as we talked. I also had coloured paint this time to emphasise emotions, while this was handy at times it was also a little distracting as it is one more element to think about.
It started off awkward when I tried to steer the conversation to the topic I wanted to talk about (conversation/my idea).
However when I started allowing myself to just respond to Georgia’s conversation it flowed a lot better and become a two way dialogue despite me not speaking.
Some more personal things also came up as the conversation changed and evolved like it would in a normal conversion with friends.
In the end it felt like I was able to respond faster (despite not actually responding faster) as we were connected in a conversation.
Surprisingly, Georgia was only focused on our skype call while talking to me because
“I have to see what you are drawing as you are drawing it otherwise I wouldn’t understand it” – Georgia Lindsay
I felt that this test reinforced that my idea works but only in a one on one conversation. I would also like to have one long piece of paper next time so that it would better show how the conversation evolved. I also found it interesting how towards the end I would forget that I was even drawing and was communicating like i was speaking, it was only when I ran into something that I didn’t know how to convey visually that I remembered.
Nowadays people are always connected to their phone screens, they take their friends with them in their pocket and often ignore the world around them to talk to their friends on Facebook. My idea is to change this and interact with people in the third space while being totally immersed in the first space. Randall Packer (2014) defines the third space as a representation of
The fusion of the physical (first space) and the virtual (second space) into a third space that can be inhabited by remote users simultaneously or asynchronously.
It is a blurring of the first space and second space into an other and social space. However when people interact within the third space they often forget about the first. There have even been times when I have been sitting silently in a group of people where everyone is messaging the person next to them.
Most of the time, we encounter ourselves as immediately and unreflectively immersed in the world of our concerns (Heidegger’s Aesthetics),
much like how one forgets the pen when writing they also forget the physical interface when chatting on the internet. Because of this phenomemon, the moment when the artist Defi paints over Rosa Menkman’s Collapse of PAL(2011) sparked the beginning of an idea for my project.
This performance intrigued me as it breaks the screen, the viewer’s window into the third space, and forces the viewer back into the first space. You can see how much this upsets the children as they try to stop the artist. Rather than break my experience of the third space however, I wanted to embrace it and find a way to merge both the first and third spaces.
The third space collapses space and time allowing people toexist in multiple spaces at once. In Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz’s A Hole in Spacethe participants interacted with one another seemingly like passing by one another on the street despite being 3000 miles away. These people existed both in Los Angeles and New York simultaneously. Similarly in Annie Abrahams’ The Big Kiss (2007) while she exists physically alone in her house, she is joined with a partner in the third space and, through the screen, in the physical space at the gallery.
Despite already being able to exist in multiple spaces at once through the third space, I wanted to take this idea further by removing myself from the third space while still being able to interact with it, blurring the lines between the first and third spaces. To test this idea I set up a little space where I could listen to a friend on skype(third space) but only reply by drawing on the paper(first space).
This effectively turns the paper into an interface through which I can interact in the third space. The more traditional media of ink on paper is significant as it expresses emotions. When receiving a handwritten letter you can feel the emotions behind it through the way the strokes are made. I could also extend this by using my hands and body to draw/write/finger-paint on the paper which would give a more personal connection and also immerse me more in the first space through my whole body moving.
In the end I found myself resorting to text language as it was faster to write. Perhaps I could allow myself to speak during the skype call but show my emotional responses through the first space. I would use coloured paint and emoticons (referencing the way of showing emotion on social media) to show my emotions and reactions to the conversation. To enhance this effect I could also change my voice so you couldn’t hear emotion.
Not being able to see my face or read emotion from my voice makes it uncertain if I am being honest about my emotions (like typing ‘lol’ without actually laughing). This also reflects my ideas about what is real on the internet expressed in my first micro-project.
I hope that my work serves as a conversation to how people are investing themselves too much in the third space and that we need to find ways too immerse ourselves once again in the first space while still keeping connections in the third space.
Life Sharing (2000-03) is a work by Eva and Franco Mattes where they opened the contents of their computers to the internet for people to share, look at and download anything and everything including the system itself.
Life sharing is about exploring ideas of public vs private and also transparency and peer to peer sharing. Created before social media was a thing, Life Sharing focuses on sharing. Unlike social media where sharing reinforces a projection (honest or not) of the user’s self, life sharing is about transparency where everything on their personal computer is accessible including personal emails.
I found this disparity intriguing, how life sharing could be open despite removal of the artists themselves (names were also altered on emails). Their first space selves were private whereas their third space self was laid bare for all to see.
This is what I was doing all of last week, not going out and just staying in my room and doing work or procrastinating. It shows the flicking between different windows and tasks and distractions that for me is how I spend my time on the internet. It also shows the torrent of information that you get subjected to.
Sorry this ended up so late, my phone corrupted the other file so I had to shoot it again 🙁
“I could only understand it as irrational and void of meaning, and so I walked away from it, confused and titillated”- Rosa Menkman.
This is also how I also felt after watching Rosa Menkman’s Collapse of PAL (2012). Confused I took to the internet to find out what PAL even was. Turns out I have been unknowingly using it for years while watching the display on my family’s TV screen. The ‘collapse’ must also mean that this medium is no longer used and yet I had not heard of TVs changing systems unlike how I heard about Telecom (a Telecommunications company in NZ) getting rid of their GSM network. After some further internet delving I found out that the DVB that replace PAL is called Freeview. This Freeview was marketed as a New Zealand free to air system which was like a free SKY TV. I had neither realised that this was a worldwide phenomenon or made the connection between it and the Collapse of PAL. I had unknowingly experienced the collapse of PAL something that I had unknowingly been using.
“This death sentence, although executed in silence, was a brutally violent act that left PAL disregarded and obsolete” – Rosa Menkman.
I realised that I had been regarding PAL as obsolete and irrelevant and that to understand Rosa Menkman’s work I had to change my perspective.
After Watching again I thought that perhaps Rosa saw herself as the Angel of history. She is forced to watch as constant new developments are made to technology to make them ‘better’ creating a pile of obsolete old technology which has become worthless.
“Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.”- Walter Benjamin
She utilises a pile of dated and obsolete technology to create this work, the images are made with materials such as the analog PAL signal from a NES and a broken digital photo camera. For the sound materials such as feedback, morsecode and an old Casio keyboard are used. The glitch highlights and celebrates the imperfections of the media, finding beauty in what others would call broken, wrong and failed which breaks away from progress’s race to perfection.
For me I found it interesting to celebrate old technology rather than disregard it as useless. It has become fashionable to connect with old things, old retro gaming consoles are in demand and a lot of people like wearing vintage clothing. It creates a sense of nostalgia that people like. But rather than just liking things from ‘the good old days’, Rosa takes these things and utilises their failures, their flaws, the very reason they were superseded in the first pace to create something new and unique.
I also felt that the ending to the performance was particularly interesting, it crossed the divide between the physical space and the third space. The painter broke up the images on the screens with black paint. This disruption gained cheers from the adult audience members but upset the children who tried to stop him.
“It is the all-at-once concept of the abstract expressionists, in which everything is everywhere and the canvas became a total field of possibilities. The third space is a fluid matrix of potentiality and realizable connections to the most far-reaching remoteness.”- Randall Packer
Annie Abrahams explores the possibilities of the third space in her work The Big Kiss (2007).
In this piece she kisses another person within the third space despite their physical separation using webcams. To the viewer it feels like they have a meaningful connection and It makes me wonder if it feels the same to them. Does she fell so absorbed in the third space that seeing herself kissing someone on the screen collapses their physical distance and make it mentally like she’s kissing them?
“Machine mediated kissing in a performance = drawing with your tongue = taking pleasure, while constructing an image = a way to be superaware of the other = never totally abandoning yourself = ???????? = not at all like real kissing, it is better! This might be a female point of view.” – Annie Abrahams
She says it make her superaware of the other, perhaps it is like when you take away the physicality of touch you become more connected in the mind, like connecting mind-mind rather than mind-touch then touch-mind. Or perhaps it’s like how if you lose your sight your other senses will become heightened.
In 2009 she repeated this performance however this time it was done in a home environment rather than a studio. Even though they are further distanced from each other, the intimate and relaxed scene of the homes increases feeling of intimacy and connection between the performers. It feels a lot more voyeuristic, like you are intruding on a personal moment rather than an art piece. The fact that these are live performances would have made me uncomfortable if I was there, as if by watching the screen I would also have been included in kissing within the third space.
This also makes me consider whether or not this counts as kissing and by further extension whether or not a relationship over the internet is real if you have never met the person in the first space. Coming from my perspective I would say it is, in fact one of my best friends actually dated a guy from america that she had met online in a MMORPG she had already been friends with this guy for a year or two before they started dating. Every night they would skype each other or play games online together, it was another year and a half before they actually met in person.
“energy and emotion are generated from the tension and interaction of
male and female, natural and artificial, human and machine”- Roy Ascott
This piece also reminded me if the website smule which allows users to sing a ‘duet’ with the singer of the song, I found it interesting how the users interacted with the recorded piece as if the artist was really live performing a webcam duet with them, they talk as if friends or in other cases scream in a fangirl/boy moment as if meeting in real life.